Capital One Venture – A Response to Nomadic Matt

We both read a lot of Nomadic Matt. As a well-respected travel blogger, both his trips abroad and success  are inspiring to us. That said, when he wrote this post on the Capital One Venture card, we both had a few issues. Grace has the fee version of this card which gives 2% cash back, and Laine has the free version which gives 1.25%.

We both chose this card primarily because of the 0% on foreign transaction fees, a benefit which Matt dismisses in his post, as he claims it’s common. While there are many cards without foreign transaction fees, the cards he mentions by name in his post are not included among them. The flexibility of the rewards and the generous sign up bonus were just added perks. The fact that it’s a Visa with chip and signature technology made it one of the better cards available in the US for use abroad when we got them (at least until chip and pin is made more widely available). However, we did take some issue with his assessment of the rewards program, as outlined below.

1) He’s talking about spending $100,000 on a credit card, which is just not doable for most people, especially those who are seeking out budget travel options. As people making a living wage, our credit card spending between all of our cards averages between $10,000 and $20,000 each. Even assuming salary increases over the next few years, we’d have to make a hell of a lot more than we do now to spend $100k on a credit card in a reasonable amount of time. We estimate a yearly spend of $100,000 dollars would require more than double that amount in salary.

2) Based on that, we’d rather get the $200 a year in rewards to use traveling every year from the Venture than try to accrue enough points on a miles card that is limited to one airline, especially because airline points are constantly being restructured to screw the customer and benefit the airline. They’re basically loosing value constantly, whereas Capital One’s points are worth dollars. While it’s true that  inflation depreciates the value of a dollar, the points are still worth the same as cash.

3) He’s comparing the it Capital One Venture to airline specific international flights that don’t appeal to our travel style. Saving the points to get that flight to Japan he talks about would take years, even with a “better” travel hacking card, but 1 year of spending on the Venture basically pays for a round trip flight to Ireland, so that’s a better value for us, regardless of the dollars involved.
4) “Free checked bags, priority boarding, lounge access, Internet at hotels, and much more” – These perks are not worth much to us because 1) checking is something we (usually) try to avoid, but it’s free on most international flights anyway 2) don’t care 3) don’t care 4) internet is free in so many places and we don’t  seek out or want to spend time inside hotels if at all possible. Isn’t the idea of using free wifi at cute cafes better?
5) We want the Double Cash card eventually, but Visa is more widely accepted than Master Card, and it has literally no sign up bonus and has foreign transaction fees, making the Capital One more appealing in the short-term. We have the Amex he mentions and use that as well. Credit Cards aren’t a one stop shop game. We both have the Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Chase Freedom, and use them where they get their major bonuses.
The Capital One Venture is a great card for all non-bonus categories that can be used internationally without fees. The flexible rewards program is just a perk. We agree that different cards benefit different travelers, but we cannot agree with the idea that this card should be dismissed off-hand.


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